“Make everybody fall out of the plane first, THEN explain who they were and why they were in the plane to begin with. – Nancy Ann Dibble”
I’ve heard lots of different advice for writers. Write constantly. Don’t give up. Read anything you can get your hands on. Learn to re-write. Check your spelling. Etc. Etc.
But – the piece of advice I like the best is “Start with the action.”
I’ve read too many novels that start out with pages of descriptions and back stories and filler. And although I sometimes enjoy reading about snow-capped mountain tops or modern glass buildings that reach into the sky, usually I just want to hear about the action.
And to be honest, the action should be right at the beginning.
For example – Harry Potter (by JK Rowling) didn’t start off with the entire back story of why Harry had a scar or who Voldermort was. No. It started with Harry discovering he was a wizard and being asked to go to Hogwarts. Exciting stuff.
I’m currently reading Hater by David Moody and within the first three pages, he has a normal business man attack a little old lady for no apparent reason. That is what I am looking for. The action in that first chapter sucked me in.
However, my biggest pet peeve isn’t chapters and chapters of description but rather when a writer has fantastic action at the beginning of the story and it turns out to be a dream. What a rip off! Does your story have a plot line? Then start it already… give me something to grab onto. I’m a fish looking to be caught. Give me a flashy lure or a frog fighting for survival (sorry…no more fishing analogies. I promise.)
So – novelists of the world – I’m begging you. Write some action into your first few pages. It doesn’t have to be like Indiana Jones. A woman discovering love letters to her mother from a man other than her father is just as exciting as a woman breaking into the White House for secret government files with gunshots and explosions in the background.
Start with the action. I know I will. 🙂